Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Spooky Halloween Cake!

This three tier novelty cake is the perfect table centre piece for a Halloween party. Made from 10" and 8" round cakes and a 6" sphere for the pumpkin.

The base cake is covered in purple sugar paste and allowed to dry over night in order to ease the addition of the decoration. This is done with a black edible pen by copying haunted house pictures found on internet, first with an outline and then colouring in to achieve dark silhouettes.
The moon is a large circle of bright yellow sugar paste, attached with edible glue and painted round with orange food colour to give a more subtle but spooky appearance.
Grave stones, which are just crosses are added between the houses and a tree branches break up the moon along with a few bats in flight.
Grey food colour is painted in the sky for haunting clouds and finally twinkly lights add the finishing touch to the houses with bright yellow food colour painted on with a very fine brush.

The mummy tier is covered in white before adding strips of pale grey sugar paste cut randomly then attached with edible glue. Two eyes are made from bright green balls of paste with smaller black, red then yellow balls added to make scary eyes, these are stuck on with the glue and more strips are added around them to give the effect of them peeping through the bandages. A dusting of dark grey food colouring to finish makes it look old and dirty.

In order to cover a sphere you will need your orange sugar paste to be quite thick, this gives you more time for moulding and makes it less likely to crack. Place the paste over the cake and wrap around with your hands smoothing as you go, the base need not be covered as it will sit on top of the mummy. When covered mark on some grooves going from top to bottom with the back of a knife and
add a green stalk and with some leaves to the top.
The features are cut from black sugar paste, the eyes are triangles, the smiley mouth a zigzag line turned up at the ends, attached with glue.

After the cakes have been stacked, roll out a strip of red sugar paste about an inch wide with one straight edge, this sits against the cake and one wavy edge. Attach to the cake drum, you'll need to use one that is 14" round in order to take the decoration, then add some tear drop shaped balls of paste to look like blood dripping from the cake down the board.

That's about as frightening as I can do, what a wimp! It's not too terrifying for little tots either!
Hopefully it's given you some ideas for your own SPOOKY Halloween cake.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Yummy Raspberry Jam!

Why do raspberries always ripen at once? After picking two kilos in one day, I decided to make some jam and was not disappointed. How can something so simple taste so good?

Equal quantities of fruit and Granulated sugar are used for this jam, so if you have two cups of fruit, you will need two cups of sugar, two kilos of fruit, two kilos of sugar!

I prefer my jam a bit tart so I added some freshly squeezed lemon juice. If like yours sweet just leave it out.

My very large cooking pot contained two kilos of raspberries, squashed with a potato masher to release the juice but leaving a few whole so the finished jam has fruity chunks!

Choose a big saucepan because when the jam achieves a rolling boil it doubles in volume.

Put your raspberries on the heat and boil for a couple of minutes before adding two kilos of sugar and lemon juice if using. The juice of one lemon to about 500g of fruit works for me.

Stirring constantly, bring to the boil and keep it boiling, this is called a rolling boil, for how many minutes is going to depend on the amount you are making.
My two kilos took about 20 minutes, a smaller amount will get hotter quicker so will be ready in less time.

The setting point for jam is 220F or 105C, the best way to check for this is with a sugar thermometer, it can be clipped or rested on the side of your pan with the end in the mixture. When the correct temperature is reached your jam should set.

Pre heat your oven to 120C before washing your jars in hot soapy water and rinsing well, place in the oven on a baking sheet until they are completely dry. This sterilises the jars helping to preserve the jam and prevent it from going mouldy.

If like my son, you don't like seeds in your jam, it can be put through a metal sieve.
A sieve made of anything else is going to melt as the mixture is very hot so be very careful when potting up your yummy jam!

Leave to cool before sealing on the lids and store for later use, if you can't eat it all in one go!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

How Do You Colour Cake Batter?

 How to make bright eye catching cake batter and bake them into bright eye catching sponge cakes!

A basic sponge mix is best for this purpose as you will need to beat the colour into the batter, if you make a genoese for example, the beating action will disperse all the air and you will end up with a brightly coloured biscuit!

Basic Sponge Cake Recipe

225g (8oz) Self Raising Flour
225g (8oz) Butter, at room temperature
225g (8oz) Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Essence


Preheat oven 180C / gas mark 4 and line 2 x 8" round cake tins.
Mix all the ingredients together in one bowl then divide the batter into two.

Now you are ready to add your chosen colour, the brighter the better.

I've opted for orange and purple.

Add a teaspoon of colour before beating together until evenly distributed.

It is important to use bake stable food colour, this will ensure the colour you have chosen is the colour you will get.

Add the coloured batter to your prepared cake tins levelling with a spatula before baking for approximately 25 minutes.

Remove from the tins and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

You may think at this stage that the colour is not very bright, but don't be fooled, trim off the bake crust and "voila" fab intense colour, marvellous!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Watch out for that bumpy road!

This cake decoration is achieved with a simple car cutter and added detail to make this fun, bright & colourful birthday cake, perfect for your little back seat drivers!
This 10" round sponge cake and 13"cake drum have been covered with a bright ice blue sugar paste/fondant.